18.9 miles (Miles 485.7 – 504.6)
Red Carpet Cache – Liebre Mtn. Truck Trail
We hiked back into the wilderness today and it felt great. I had a fabulous morning. We climbed into these gorgeous patches of pine forest that smelled sweet and were all quiet except for the wind in the treetops and chirping and chattering birds all around. A couple of times the view opened up and I’d just stand there, watching and listening as gusts of wind swayed the trees back and forth in unison over the hills ahead of me. I felt so relaxed.
What added to my great morning was my feet. My new shoes and insoles were amazing. Just two days ago I was trying to not walk on my feet because they were so tender, and today was a completely different story. I’m getting used to the beefier support of the green Superfeet, but my foot-balls did great. I could feel them a little, but I think they’ll be back to normal in a couple of days. I dealt with foot fatigue today and that’s pretty much it – foot fatigue is something I expect every day, so it’s a good thing. It’s one of my discomforts that I’m happily comfortable with. It just means I hiked hard!
Water sources… we will take water from wherever we can get it out here, and today certainly proved that. We’ve had a few sketchy water sources before today, but those were usually at a spring or a low stream. Today we had two new water source encounters.
“Pick your poison,” I said to Devilfish as we discussed our choices. We passed one water source that was off-trail, but Devilfish was heading up there because he heard there was a dead chipmunk in the tank we were planning to fill up at. When we got to that tank, Devilfish told us he passed on the last one because it was shallow and looked like ground-up Kermit-green. We got to the top of our tank and slid the metal plate back. Tons of water, no visible dead chipmunks, but a weird sheen on the surface. We filled our bottles and treated it. It didn’t taste too bad… it was a little better than what you’d expect from a giant cement tank full of stagnant water. And we hoped the dead chipmunk thing was just a dirty rumor.
Our next water was at a “guzzler.” Directions on our water report said to crawl under metal roofing material and remove large plastic lid. Somewhere in there it said, “not very appetizing, but it’s wet.” Things are getting interesting out here on the PCT! Tears only filled a couple of bottles here – only what we needed. It was kind of nasty water with leaves and slimy, floating chunks in it. We call this “organic material.” We used this water for dinner, so it was treated chemically and by boiling. I think we’re covered!
One other interesting thing from today… I’ve been hearing there is a 24-hour stomach flu getting passed down the trail. After talking with four other hikers that have been sick, I’m certain this is what I was dealing with last week. I am SO thankful that it didn’t hit while I was on trail! I had a bed, blankets and a toilet! Thank you, God! (P.S. I finally am fully recovered from this… energy levels are normal and my appetite is back. Yay!)
Tonight I love clean laundry. Coming into town and having already washed clothes by Aloha has been a HUGE treat. Thank you, Aloha!
And a few other photos from today: